The Valdosta football Blazers have developed an early season case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They started the season with an ugly loss at home to Newberry and then put together one of the more complete games of total domination when Southern Arkansas University rode into Titletown.
The proof is in how they found a way to redeem themselves after they had a long week to think about what they did wrong against Newberry.
If you are tired of hearing about the Newberry game, consider this; the more the Blazers win, the more important that game will be and it could grow to be the single flaw in a great season. See 2004 national champion Blazers.
The point this week, however, has nothing to do with Newberry really. It has everything to do with the Blazers bouncing back after that game and showing the country, and more importantly themselves, that they actually can play the game at a high level.
Bravo Coach David Dean, there might not be any better way to come off of a loss than to hold the next opponent, Southern Arkansas in this case, to 39 total yards. Come to think of it that is less than half of the number of players on SAU’s roster, 83. That is an interesting stat: .47 yards per player.
Needless to say, the Blazers did an excellent job handling the Muleriders on their home turf and it has to be encouraging seeing key players, like quarterback Kellen Lewis and running back Michael Brown, stepping up and making big plays.
Lewis looked like the player everyone expected in the opener, running nine times for 42 yards and two scores. Yes, that right, Lewis outscored the Muleriders by seven and outgained them by three yards on the ground alone. That doesn’t include his 192 yards through the air. Brown added 73 yards of his own on the ground.
Surprisingly, the game wasn’t without its concerns as the Blazers gave the ball away three times, once for a touchdown. The Blazers recorded four fumbles, losing two of them and despite the lackluster weather that is not a trend the team can afford to maintain. A total of eight turnovers in just two games looks like the start of a painful and playoff threatening habit.
Well, enough with the negative because it isn’t everyday a team can say they held a team to merely 39 total yards. Now the Blazers just have to prove they can do it on the road against a team that looks a little luckier than SAU, Ouachita Baptist.
Michael writes his weekly column, Open Mike, and is always eager to receive comments, statement, arguments or just plain rudeness from all of his readers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.